A webinar on rice fortification was held to commemorate the ongoing 4th Rashtriya Poshan Maah. In his speech on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence (15 August 2021), Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised that by 2024, fortified rice will be available through all Government of India programmes.
Fortification should be integrated into India’s larger response to malnutrition, with the understanding that it will reinforce, complement, and support ongoing nutrition improvement programmes such as supplementation and dietary diversification. Malnutrition, particularly child malnutrition, is a serious hazard to children’s growth and development. According to the National Family Health Survey, India has the world’s highest rate of iron deficiency and anaemia. In India, an estimated 59 percent of children and 50 percent of pregnant women are anaemic. Malnutrition in children and mothers accounts for 15% of India’s overall illness burden. Iron deficiency anaemia is said to cost the country about 1% of GDP (Rs 1.35 lakh crore) every year. Micronutrient deficiencies, commonly known as “hidden hunger,” continue to be a major public health issue in Indian communities. As a result, rice was fortified to address malnutrition and a lack of key nutrients, particularly among impoverished women and children. Because the government distributes more than 300 lakh tonnes of rice to 81 crore people under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013, this news is important.
According to the World Health Organization, fortification is the practise of adding an important micronutrient, such as vitamins or minerals, to a food item in order to increase its nutritional value and give public health benefits at a low cost. It adds several nutrients to treat multiple deficits while having little affects on flavour and cooking qualities. Unlike supplements, it also has a low impact on behaviour. Vitamin D is commonly added to milk, while calcium is sometimes added to fruit juices. After salt, edible oil, milk, and wheat, rice is the fifth food to be fortified by the government. The most long-term answer to the health problems is fortified rice. There is no difference between rice and rice that has been fortified.
Source: Press Information Bureau